Movie News & Reviews

2014 films: A catalog of the many ‘bests’ and ‘worsts’

The end of “Interstellar,” starring Matthew McConaughey, inspires a lot of questions.
The end of “Interstellar,” starring Matthew McConaughey, inspires a lot of questions. WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

It’s time for end of the year film roundups, and pretty much everyone goes with a best and worst movies list. But that’s the lazy way out. There are, in fact, many other ways to judge this year’s cinematic output. Here are a few.

Say Wha? (the movie that made the least sense): “Interstellar.” If anyone can explain this film’s last third, please email me at

Best Line: “They never see you coming, do they, Bob?” – John Ortiz in “The Drop,” playing a cop who realizes that Tom Hardy’s seemingly dimwitted bartender is a lot smarter, and more dangerous, than he appears.

Food Porn Trophy: Pretty much every cooking scene in “Chef,” but the grilled cheese sequence wins hands down.

Worst Title For a Really Good Film: “Edge of Tomorrow,” which should have gone with the tag line used in its ads – “Live. Die. Repeat.” And, in fact, that’s the title used on the DVD box. Too little, too late.

Completely Unnecessary Remake: “Robocop.” Not a bad movie, just not nearly as good as the 1987 original.

Film Guaranteed To Chill You To Your Bones: “Snowpiercer,” set entirely in a frigid, post-apocalyptic Earth.

Most Unfortunately Unseen Film: “The Good Lie,” about four Lost Boys of Sudan and how they got to the U.S. Even Reese Witherspoon’s name above the title couldn’t save this picture from box office oblivion. Total gross: $2.5 million.

Guilty Pleasure: “John Wick,” in which Keanu Reeves, playing a retired hit man, goes on a rampage after Russian mobsters steal his car and kill his dog.

Year’s Best Villain: J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash,” playing an incredibly sadistic music teacher. It’s a very great performance and also a very scary one.

People Worth Watching in Pretty Much Anything: Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Marion Cotillard, Brendan Gleason, Helen Mirren, Chadwick Boseman, Bill Nighy, Emma Stone.

Most Over-Exposed: Matthew McConaughey, James Franco.

Actors Whose Appearance in a Film Practically Guarantees It Will Suck: Nicolas Cage, Adam Sandler, Kate Hudson.

UNICEF Plaque (given to the film whose overinflated budget could have been put to better use by feeding the starving children of the planet): “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Girls Gone Wild: Scarlett Johansson (“Under the Skin”) and Witherspoon (“Wild”) did nude scenes this year.

Most Surprisingly Accomplished Directorial Debut: Jon Stewart, “Rosewater.”

Film Industry Quote of the Year: “Although the public clearly has an appetite for garbage, how much of that garbage should you provide them with? And how much should you try to insert something that is a little bit above garbage in your garbage?” – Seth Rogen

Most Inspiring Film: “Selma,” an intimate look at the bravery of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers in the 1960s civil rights movement.

Racial (In)Sensitivity Award: To “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” whose Egyptians and Jews are all light-skinned Caucasians and whose underlings and slaves are all dark-skinned.

Most Extensive Use of the ‘F’ Word: “Top Five.”

Creepiest Performance: Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher,” playing the unhinged John du Pont, who murders wrestling coach Dave Schultz.

This Year’s Sign of the Apocalypse: The cowardly combination of Sony and America’s theater owners giving into a supposed terrorist threat and withdrawing “The Interview” from release (though there were reports at press time that it would be shown in some theaters on Christmas Day).